Avigdor Arikha (b.1929, Bukovina, Romania) moved to Paris in 1950 where he was an integral part of the artistic and intellectual life of the city until his death on 29 April 2010. A painter, draughtsman, printmaker and art historian, he is known for working only in natural light and for producing each of his works in one day.

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Arikha Avigdor Canvas With Self Portrait 1976 B77 0620
Canvas with Self-Portrait, 1976

GALLERY EXHIBITIONS

Blain|Southern Berlin
Landscapes

Landscapes

20 January – 24 February 2018

BIOGRAPHY

Born into a German-speaking Jewish family, Arikha was deported, in 1941, to a Transnistrian concentration camp, where his father died. He survived thanks to sketches he composed on scraps of paper, depicting the horrors of the holocaust. Those were shown to delegates of the Red Cross, who facilitated his and his sister’s escape.

In 1944, at the age of fifteen Arikha moved to the British Mandate of Palestine. Schooled in Jerusalem mostly by Bauhaus teachers who had escaped Germany, Arikha adopted a modernist approach, mastering multiple skills and mediums in line with Bauhaus principles.

He moved to Paris to attend the École des Beaux-Arts, where he settled amongst a community of artists, writers and academics. Although described by Ann Wroe in The Economist as ‘perhaps the best painter from life in the last decades of the 20th century’ Arikha was an abstract painter until the mid-Sixties when, encouraged by his great friend Alberto Giacometti, he found renewed passion in representation. In 1956 he met Samuel Beckett, a close friendship which was to have a profound impact on his life (His first daughter, Alba, was named after one of Beckett’s poems). One day in 1965, after viewing Caravaggio's Raising of Lazarus in the Louvre, Arikha felt ‘a violent hunger in the eyes’ and a desire to capture with immediacy, the truth of a person or object in that very moment. He subsequently focussed on solely figurative, black and white drawing for a period of eight years, prioritising the act of observation over memory or imagination.

In 1973, Arikha began working in colour again. Partly on the basis of fresco techniques he had been taught at the Beaux Arts, he created a medium that made paint dry under his hand, forcing him to complete each work within a single day. He worked only in natural light, painting urgently with no preparatory sketches.

Painting often from his top-floor home studio, his subject matter included still-lifes, landscapes, interiors and portraits. The crowded views of Parisian rooftops allowed skilful examination of perspective and light; as with his still-lifes and portraits that captured social life at the apartment and the character of his wife, two daughters and remarkable coterie of friends, including Samuel Beckett, Giacometti and Henri Cartier-Bresson, amongst others.

Throughout the eighties and nineties Arikha also rose to prominence as an art historian, lecturing around the world. He curated exhibitions internationally, including Ingres at the Frick Collection, New York and Poussin at the Louvre, Paris. In 1992 he was commissioned by The BBC to make a documentary about Velazquez.

Arikha's work is in public collections worldwide including: British Museum, London, UK; Denver Art Museum, Denver, US; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, IT; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., US; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, ISR; The Jewish Museum, New York, US; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, US; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, FR; Musée du Louvre, Paris, FR; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, UK; Tate, London, UK.

He has been awarded many prizes and honorary degrees, and named a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 2005.

Arikha is survived by his wife, two daughters and four grandchildren. His wife, the writer Anne Atik, is one of his most painted subjects along with their two daughters, Alba and Noga, an author/ musician, and a historian of ideas respectively.



Images of Tubes of Paint in Their Drawer, 1985,  Jerusalem Seen from the South, 1980 and Pear and Apple, 1972 come courtesy of the TATE collection, London. Images of Ketef Hinnom, 1980 and Canvas with Self-Portrait, 1976 come courtesy of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

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CV

1929-2010 Born in Bukovina, RO
Lived and worked in Paris, FR


EDUCATION

1949–1951 Awarded a scholarship to study at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, FR


AWARDS

2005
Chevallier, de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris, FR

1997
Doctor Philosophiae, Honoris Causa, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, IL

1995
Honorary Visiting Professor, National Academy of Fine Arts of China, Hangchow, CN

1988
Prix des Arts des Lettres et des Sciences, Fondation du Judaisme Francais, Paris, FR

1987
Grand Prix des Arts, de la Ville de Paris, FR

1981
Bronfman Fund Award for Visiting Curators, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, IS

1977
Chevalier de l’Order, des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, FR

1954
Gold Medal, Triennale di Milano, Milan, IT

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015
Avigdor Arikha: Paintings and Works on Paper, Marlborough Gallery, London, UK

2013
Avigdor Arikha, Galería Marlborough, Madrid, ES

2012
Avigdor Arikha: Works from the Estate, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US

2011
The Hunger in the Eye, Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv, IS
Avigdor Arikha, Works from the Estate, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK

2010
Homage to Avigdor Arikha: Self-Portraits; Illustrations to “A Stray Dog” by S.Y. Agnon, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, IL

2008
Arikha, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, ES

2007
Twenty-Five Pastels, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US

2006
Avidgor Arikha, From Life-Drawings and Prints, British Museum, London, UK
Recent Work, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK

2004
Avidgor Arikha, Marlborough Graphics, London, UK

2003
Transforming the Commonplace, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, US

2002
Recent Work: Oils, Pastels Drawings, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US

2000
Paintings, Pastels and Drawings, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK

1999
Pinturas, Pasteles, Dibujos 1969-1999, Marlborough Madrid, ES
Paris sur le Vif, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, FR
Avigdor Arikha, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK

1998
Avigdor Arikha Selected Paintings 1953-1997, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, IL
Drawings, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, IL
Arikha, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK
Sixty-Five Drawings 1965-1997, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US

1996
Meheva le Avigdor Arikha – avodoth nivharot, Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv, IL
Selected Prints 1966-1995, Marlborough Graphics, New York, US
Recent Paintings and Drawings, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US

1994
Works 1992-1993, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK
Etchings and Lithographs, Marlborough Graphics, London, UK
Rishumim, Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv, IL

1992
Works 1990-1991, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York, US

1990
Oils, Pastels, Drawings, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK

1988
Oils, Watercolours, Pastels, Inks, and Drawings, Marlborough Fine Art, Tokyo, JP
Paintings, Pastels and Drawings, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York, US

1987
Oil Paintings, Pastels, and Drawings, Louver Gallery, Venice, California, US

1986
Avigdor Arikha, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK
Prints 1950 - 1985, Tel Aviv University Gallery, Tel Aviv, IL

1985
Recent Paintings, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York, US

1984
New York Drawings – January-May 1984, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US

1983
Paintings, Drawings, and Pastels, Marlborough Gallery, New York, UK

1982
Oil Paintings & Drawings, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK

1981
Arikha, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, FR

1980
Dessins et gravures, Galerie Berggruen, Paris, FR
Recent Work, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York, US

1979
Avigdor Arikha - Peintures et aquarelles, F.I.A.C. – Marlborough, Paris, FR
Twenty-Two Paintings 1974-1979, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, US
Drawings, Watercolours, and Paintings, Janie C. Lee Gallery, Houston, US

1978
Oil Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK
Paintings, Drawings, Watercolours, New 57 Gallery, Edinburgh, UK

1977
Avigdor Arikha: Huit Gravures, Galerie Amstutz, Zurich, CH
Ölbilder, Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Marlborough Gallery, Zurich, CH

1976
Samuel Beckett by Avigdor Arikha, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

1975
Paintings and Watercolours 1973 - 1975, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US
Nouvelles de l’Estampe, Cabinet des Estampes, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris , FR

1974
Arikha – 39 Gravures 1970-1973, Centre National d’Art Contemporain-Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris , FR; Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie, Boulogne-sur-Mer, FR; Chapelle de la Villedieu, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, FR; Musée Tessé, Le Mans, FR; Ecole Internationale d'Art Décoratif, Nice, FR; M.J.C., Dôle, FR; Municipalité, Mitry-Mory, FR; Foyer Culturel, Brive-La-Gaillarde, FR; M.J.C., Saint Cloud, FR; M.J.C., Annecy, FR; M.J.C., Mandelieu-la-Napoule, FR; M.J.C., Verberie, FR; Renaissance du Vieux Bordeaux, Bordeaux, FR; Maison pour Tous, Mougins, FR; Bibliothèque Municipale, Saumur, FR; Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Turcoing, FR; Lycée Technique Vieux Condé, FR; Société Creusot-Loire, Gennevilliers, FR; M.J.C., Gérardmer, FR; Bibliothèque Municipale, Chamonix, FR; Musée d'Ethnographie Corse, Bastia, FR; Fédération Régionale des M.J.C., Grasse, FR; Comité d'Animation de la Bibliothèque, Sorgues, FR; Lycée Pierre d'Ailly, Compiègne, FR; Musée Goya, Castres, FR; Espace Lyonnais d'Art Contemporain, Lyon, FR; Amicale Laïque, Myridan, FR; Bibliothèque de l'Agora, Evry, FR; Institut Français, Cologne, DE; Institut Français, Aachen, DE; Institut Français, Essen, DE; Bibliothèque Municipale, Grenoble, FR
Drawings, Inks, and Etchings, Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK
Ink Drawings, Janie C Lee Gallery, Houston, Texas, US

1973
Ink Drawings 1965-72, Fort Worth Art Center Museum, Fort Worth, US
Paintings 1957-1965 and 1968, The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, IL
Ink Drawings 1965-72, Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York, US

1972
8 Paintings, Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv, IL
Drawings 1965-72, 39 Ink Drawings, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, US
Ink Drawings, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York, US

1970
Dessins 1965-70, Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Paris, FR

1967
Arikha - dessins, Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, FR

1966
Paintings 1963-66 and Drawings 1947-1966, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, IS

1961
Paintings, Gouaches, Watercolors, Drawings, Galerie Karl Flimker, Paris, FR

1960
Paintings, Gouaches, Watercolours, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL

1959
Paintings, Gouaches, Drawings, Matthiesen Gallery, London, UK

1957
Pientures et Dessins, Galerie Furstenberg, Paris, FR

1956
Paintings & Drawings, Paintings & Drawings, London, UK

1955
Pientures et Dessins, Galerie Furstenberg, Paris, FR

1954
Tegninger, grafik og bogkuns, Athenaeum Kunsthandel, Copenhagen, DK
Paintings & Drawings, Galerie Moderne, Stockholm, SE

1953
Paintings, Drawings, Woodcuts, The Bezalel National Museum, Jerusalem, IL
Paintings, Drawings, Illustrations, Artist’s House, Jerusalem, IL

1952
Paintings & Drawings, Galeria Zeira, Tel Aviv, IL


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2013
Obra sobre papel: Explorando El Trazo, Marlborough Barcelona, Valencia, ES

2009
Summer Exhibition, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US

2008
Summer Show, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US
Group Exhibition, Marlborough Gallery, Shanghai Art Fair, CN

2007
The Mirror and The Mask: Portraiture in the Age of Picasso, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Fundacion Caja, Madrid, ES; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, US

2006
Leigh of Honor, Judging by Appearance: Master Drawings from the Collection of Joseph and Deborah Goldyne, Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, US

2005
37th Summer Exhibition, The Royal Academy, London, UK
Works on Paper, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US
Landscape, Cityscape, Marlborough Gallery, New York, US

2004
Matisse to Freud- A Critic’s Choice: The Alexander Walker Bequest, The British Museum, London, UK
New York, New York, Galeria Marlborough, Madrid, ES

2002
Watercolor, New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, New York, US

1997
Made in France, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR

1995
Identita e Alteritá, Palazzo Grassi, La Biennale di Venezia, IT

1994
Figures de l'Art d'Aujourd'hui - Abakanowicz, Arikha, Auerbach, Bacon, Grooms, Kitaj, Mason, Valdes, Galerie Marwan Hoss, Paris, FR
Œuvres Choisies des XIX et XX Siècles Peintures, Dessins, Sculptures, Galerie Huguette Berès, Paris, FR

1993
Arikha, Auerbach, Kitaj, Galeria Marlborough, Madrid, ES
The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
Copier Créer, Musée du Louvre, Paris, FR

1991
Master Drawings 1520-1990, Janie C Lee Gallery & Kate Ganz, New York, US
Arikha, Auerbach, Bacon, Kitaj, Marlborough Gallery, Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Paris, FR

1988
Master Drawings 1877-1987, Janie C Lee Gallery, New York, US

1987
Ink Drawings, Janie C Lee Gallery, New York, US
Peindre dans la Lumière de la Méditerranée, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, IL; Musée Cantini, Marseille, FR

1985
Representation Abroad, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C, US
Vom Zeichnen, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, DE; Kunstverein Kassel, DE; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna, AT

1984
Drawings 1974-1984, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C, US
Masters of Contemporary Figuration, Marlborough Fine Art, Tokyo, JP
A Circle: Portraits and Self-portraits by Arikha, Auerbach, Kitaj, Freud, Marlborough Graphics, London, UK
Master Drawings 1928-1984, Janie C Lee Gallery, Houston, Texas, US
Master Drawings 1879-1984, Janie C Lee Gallery, New York, New York, US

1983
Raphaël et l'Art Français, Grand Palais, Paris , FR

1982
Paris 1960-1980, Museum des XX Jahrhunderts, Vienna, AT
Arte come Arte..., International Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia, IT
The M. & D. Blankfort Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, US
La Lithographie en France des Origines à nos Jours, Fondation des Arts Graphiques, Paris, FR

1981
Artists of Israel 1920-1980, Jewish Museum, New York, US

1980
La Famille des Portraits, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, FR

1979
Oeuvres Contemporaines des Collections Nationales, MNAM-Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR

1978
L'Estampe Aujourd'hui, Cabinet des Medailles, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, FR
L'Art Moderne dans les Musées de Province, Grand Palais, Paris, FR

1977
New Acquisitions, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
Acquisitions 1971-76, Cabinet Graphique, MNAM-Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR

1976
Nouvelle Subjectivité, Festival d'Automne, Paris, FR

1975
European Painting in the 70s, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, US; Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri; Elvehjem Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin, US

1967
Bienal de Saõ Paulo, Saõ Paulo, BR
Israeli pavilion at Saõ Paulo Biennale, Saõ Paulo, BR

1964
Art Israel, Museum of Modern Art, New York, US

1962
Israeli pavilion at the 31st Biennale, La Biennale di Venezia, IT

1959
1st Biennale, Biennale de Paris, FR

1954
Xth Triennial, Triennale di Milano, IT (Awarded Gold Medal for the Rilke illustrations)


PUBLIC COMMISSIONS

2002
Sir John Shaw and Sir Bob Reid, Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK

2000
Pierre Mauroy, Palais des Beaux-Arts and Mairie de Lille, Lille, FR

1997
Self-portrait, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, IT
Herbert Pundik, Det Nationalhistoriske Museum På Frederiksborg Slot, Hillerød, DK

1992
Moira Shearer and Ludovic Kennedy, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, UK

1990
Catherine Deneuve, Ministère de la Culture, Paris, FR

1988
Alec Douglas-Home, Lord Home of the Hirsel, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, UK

1982
H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, UK


PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas, US
Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes, Paris, FR
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, US
Det Nationalhistoriske Museum på Frederiksborg Slot, Hillerød, DK
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, IT
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, IL
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Blankfort Collection, Los Angeles, US
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, FR
Musée Cantini, Marseille, FR
Musée Déchelette, Roanne, FR
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, US
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, US
Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins, Paris, FR
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR
National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton University, New Jersey, US
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL
Tate Gallery, London, UK
The British Museum, London, UK
The Fine Arts Museum, The Achenbach Foundation, San Francisco, California, US
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C, US
The Jewish Museum, Exxon Corporation Collection, New York, US
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, United States
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, IL

 

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